Year-end is a time for recognizing accomplishments and shortfalls during the current year and striving to make next year a better one. Entrepreneurs are not the only ones who engage in these practices. Leaders of the best small business consulting firms are taking stock of 2012 and looking to do even more in 2013. What are they focusing on for the coming year?
According to Forbes, 2013 is not expected to provide much economic relief. Small businesses are victims of the bad debt and overleveraging of Americans and U.S. financial institutions. For the past four years, these factors have driven individual consumption, which represents two-thirds of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product. Though some positive steps have been taken, government has absorbed most of the debt burden.
The Small Business Authority advises independent business owners to consider several factors when positioning their enterprises for success. These include determining how to get business loans for refinancing or growth purposes. Since the credit bubble burst in 2008, obtaining new credit and rolling over existing financing have been challenges for many small business owners. A consultant may recommend alternative forms of financing such as angel investors.
Small businesses with at least 50 employees must now purchase health insurance for workers or face a fine. Known as Obamacare, this effort requires entrepreneurs to manage levels of full and part-time staff levels. Consultants are expected to play important roles in helping entrepreneurs staff themselves sufficiently without overspending on healthcare. The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 is more than 2,000 pages long and most entrepreneurs will need help to understand it.
Consultants will also be focused on helping clients implement ecommerce solutions. Ecommerce has become a must for any small or medium-sized business with an online presence. During the last few months, ecommerce sales have grown between 15 and 20 percent on a year-over-year basis, while sales figures of brick-and-mortar businesses declined. A website and ecommerce payment processing are critical to online visibility.
Ecommerce is just one area that makes cyber security more important for businesses. Even the smallest companies will soon join the cloud and accept data exposure as a standard risk. Financial, health, and identifying data must be stored somewhere other than on a hard drive. Small business consulting firms can help their clients find the best cloud-based cyber security and cloud computing solutions to protect data and make it accessible from anywhere at any time.